A 16 year-old student from Southampton has beaten off ‘hundreds’ of others and bagged a prestigious six-year engineering apprenticeship. Katie Hopper, who attends Salisbury’s University Technical College (UTC), was the only female who applied to Associated British Ports (ABP) for the higher level degree apprenticeship.
“It was all men at the interviews and they were all about ten years older than me,” said Hopper, who is studying a range of STEM subjects, including engineering, electronics and computer science at the UTC.
Principal of the South Wiltshire UTC, Joe Mulligan, said it was unheard of for a 16 year old to be offered a higher level degree apprenticeship. “We are all very proud of what Katie has achieved, she has worked tremendously hard and thoroughly deserves this amazing opportunity.”
According to the Women’s Engineering Society the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe, at less than 10%. Katie hopes she will be one of many young women bucking this trend.
“I am ecstatic of getting this far especially for my age, it is a dream,” she said. “I also want to slowly and steadily promote women in engineering.”
Hopper has already completed some work experience at ABP. It’s the UK’s leading ports’ operator with a network of 21 ports contributing, £7.5bn to the UK economy, annually.
“During my work experience I met the apprentices, saw project management, worked with electrical, mechanical and facility management teams. I got to drive cranes, go on a pilot launch trip and meet people I should be working with,” Hopper explained.
During her six year apprenticeship at ABP Hopper will do her HNC, HND and degree. And if she isn’t busy enough Hopper also plays basketball for the Solent Kestrels in the National Premiere League.